Film News: 10 Anticipated Films of the 51st Chicago International Film Festival

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CHICAGO – One of the most exciting times of the Fall Season for Chicago film buffs is the Chicago International Film Festival. In 2015, the 51st edition takes place beginning this Thursday, October 15th through October 29th. With over 130 films, which ten are the contributors of anticipating? Read on…

The 51st International Chicago Film Festival offers films in many categories, with a Main Competition for feature films, a New Directors Competition, and awards for Documentary, short films, LBGTQ films (Q Hugo Award) and local filmmakers. The festival also offers a variety of short film presentations, Black Perspectives, Out-look (associated with the Q Hugo), U.S. Indies, World Cinema and the ever-popular After Dark series of films. Click here for a full schedule of events and ticket information. welcomes a new contributor this year, who will be providing coverage and previews through the fest. Brendan Hodges will be that contributor, along with Editorial Coordinator Patrick McDonald, for overviews on the festival scene, from the red carpet to the special events that take place throughout the two weeks of the fest. To begin our coverage, Brendan (BH) and Patrick (PM) offer their top ten anticipated films of the festival, and the dates of their showings.

’Dheepan,’ Directed by Jacques Audiard
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

Dheepan – Winner of the top prize at Cannes automatically makes “Dheepan” a must see, but that it was written and directed by Jacques Audiard, propels it even higher on this list. He’s one of the hottest directors in the world right now, coming off two near masterpieces – the prison gangster epic “A Prophet” (2009) and the acclaimed “Rust and Bone” (2012). (BH)

Friday, 10/16, 8:30pm
Saturday, 10/24, 5:30pm

Where to Invade Next – Oscar winning documentary director Michael Moore comes through with another provocative food-for-thought topic, pitting the perpetual spending for the U.S. war machine against countries practicing social reform and humanity with their monies. Like his previous “Bowling for Columbine’ and “Fahrenheit 9/11,” this is sure to be another incendiary document from Mr. Moore. (PM)

Friday, 10/23, 7pm

Carol – Directed by master formalist Todd Haynes, this period love story of two women entangled in a taboo love affair is arguably the most buzzed about movie at the festival. Beyond its politics and gorgeous aesthetics are two of the year’s most hyped performances – Rooney Mara and the always magnificent Cate Blanchett. (BH)

Wednesday, 10/28, 7:30pm

Hitchcock/Truffaut – A documentary about the movies of Alfred Hitchcock, that uses the historic interviews between the Master of Suspense and French New Wave director Francois Truffaut in 1962 (which became a legendary book) as a basis. The excitement of this film is within the celebration of Alfred HItchcock, whose film palette continues its influence. (PM)

Saturday, 10/24, 5pm
Monday, 10/26, 6pm

Macbeth – Watch. The. Trailer. This beast looks beautiful. The latest in a long line of “ Macbeth” adaptations combines the dirty realism of “A Lion in Winter” (1968) with the visuals and violence in director Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Valhalla Rising” (2009). Directed by Justin Kurzel, who could imagine a better fit to bring Shakespeare’s poetry to life than Michael Fassbender in the title role and Marion Cotillard as Lady Macbeth? (BH)

Sunday, 10/25, 4:45pm

Where to Invade Next
’Where to Invade Next,’ Directed by Michael Moore
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

Sherlock Holmes – Film historians take note…the first film version of the Sherlock Holmes legend was filmed in Chicago in 1916, at the north side Essanay Studios. Thought to be a lost film – those films where all prints have disappeared – it was found in France last year, and gets a magnificent presentation in the city of its origin .(PM)

Saturday, 10/24, 3pm

Brooklyn – In a role that might finally net her serious Oscar attention, the irreplaceable Saoirse Ronan portrays an Irish immigrant in America. and is supported by rising star Domhnall Gleeson (set to appear in “Star Wars” later this year). Positive early reviews and promising strong performances make this a categorical must-see, and I’m particularly excited for the attention Ronan’s finally receiving for her always beguiling screen presence.(BH)

Sunday, 10/25, 4:45pm

The Assassin – The “International” in the film festival’s name creates an opportunity to experience films from other countries that either interest you culturally or if you have visited or plan to visit. The Chinese film that won the Best Director prize at Cannes is “The Assassin,” a martial arts film set during the Tang Dynasty, it sets itself apart in its genre. (PM)

Wednesday, 10/21, 6pm
Friday, 10/23, 8:15pm

’Carol,’ Directed by Todd Haynes
Photo credit: Chicago International Film Festival

Son of Saul – Some critics have already celebrated Hungary’s “Son of Saul” as a masterpiece. It’s a holocaust movie directed by László Nemes, and the tragic plot follows a man who burns exterminated dead bodies, but then discovers among those bodies a boy he believes to be his son. Early reviews note the heavy subject matter is handled with unusual grace and technical mastery, making it no surprise why it won the Grand Prix at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. (BH)

Thursday, 10/22, 6pm

Feel the Illinoise: City and State – Every year the joy and heart of the festival is through its new discoveries. This short film showcase is the local version of the new filmmaker showcase, and will be highlighting seven new director voices that could influence the future of cinema. (PM)

Friday, 10/23, 5pm
Sunday, 10/25, 12pm
Monday, 10/26 3:30pm

The 51st Chicago International Film Festival will take place October 15th to October 29th, 2015. Click here for film schedules, information and to purchase tickets. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editorial Coordinator, Writer

© 2015 Patrick McDonald,

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